Ogilvie syndrome: peculiar manifestation of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in non-institutionalized middle age female in Tanzania

Document Type

Case Report


Imaging and Diagnostic Radiology (East Africa)


Since it was first documented in 1948 by Sir William Heneage Ogilvie, numerous cases of Ogilvie Syndrome have been described in literature due to various medical and surgical causes. Nonetheless, only a handful of cases only have been documented due to underlying Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). A 41-year-old female was admitted with an acute abdomen secondary to partial mechanical intestinal obstruction or paralytic ileus based on signs and symptoms and Abdominal X-Ray (AXR). She was known to be HIV/AIDS WHO clinical stage II on treatment. On diagnostic imaging studies she had distended large bowels without features of mechanical intestinal obstruction and the diagnosis of Ogilvie syndrome was suspected after other differentials were excluded. Early recognition and appropriate management are essential, because if left untreated the bowel distension may progress to caecal perforation and fatal peritonitis. Medical imaging with Computer Tomography (CT) scan and colonoscopy has helped in achieving an accurate diagnosis and avoiding unnecessary laparotomies. Although an uncommon disorder, for earlier and accurate diagnosis a high index of suspicion is required by clinicians and radiologists who are treating patients with underlying HIV/AIDS. Ogilvie’s syndrome is a rare condition and if missed can be fatal. In patients with HIV/AIDS, the symptoms may be directly due to HIV infection, secondary to opportunistic infections or possible neurotoxic effects of HIV treatment or lack of vitamin and minerals. It is important to exclude Ogilvie syndrome in patients from surgical causes of the acute abdomen to avoid unnecessary surgical procedures.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Pan African Medical Journal

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.